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Conservative House Caucus: Senate Should End Legislative Filibuster to Help Trump

President Trump meets with members of the Republican Study Committee on March 17, 2017, in the Oval Office. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON – Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas) called for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to end the legislative filibuster, arguing it would allow Congress to do what the American people voted for last November.

Republican leaders in the Senate were trying to move an Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill forward through budget reconciliation before Sept. 30, which would allow them to pass the bill with a simple majority. McConnell announced today that the Senate would not be voting as planned this week on the healthcare reform proposal introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) as GOPs fell short of necessary votes.

Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker (R-N.C.) said the GOP-led House has passed 250 pieces of legislation that Senate leadership has not acted on yet.

Eliminating the legislative filibuster, as President Trump has urged but an idea some Senate Republicans have panned, would allow bills to move with 51 votes instead of 60.

“The biggest problem that’s stopping this is some 18th century-era rules across the way over here called the filibuster. It puts the institution of the Senate ahead of the Constitution of the United States and it prevents Congress from doing what the American people sent us here to do. It’s high time we start putting the Constitution and the American people first ahead of that institution on the north side of this campus,” Flores, the former RSC chairman, said on Capitol Hill today at a press conference with Walker and other members of the conservative House caucus.

Walker said congressional Republicans have “been all over the map in following through on the promises we made to the American people.”

“Frankly, the American people are neither impressed nor satisfied by the lack of congressional accomplishment on the issues that drove them to the ballot box. Right now, President Trump is waiting with pen in hand yet the legislative failures continue to mount as good policy time and time again arrives at the desk of Mitch McConnell and the Senate only to die,” he said. “To the American people, we get it and we hear you. This is not the unified Republican government you wanted.”

Walker said the Republican Study Committee is committed to keeping three main promises over the next three months that are part of the Trump agenda: passing healthcare reform solutions, tax reform and border security measures that curb illegal immigration and drug smuggling.

“We’re going to continue to push bills to the Senate. We cannot sit here and guarantee you what the Senate can and cannot do,” he said. “Listen, we’ve got 250 pieces of legislation that we’ve passed to the Senate. Their job is to pick it up and pass it through and get it to the president’s desk and sign it into law.”

Walker vowed to send single pieces of legislation to the Senate that deal with changing or eliminating aspects of Obamacare.

“We’re going to continue to put the heat on the Senate to make sure that we’re sending one piece of legislation after another even if it starts with buying insurance across state lines, single pieces of legislation,” he said. “We’re going to continue to put the pursuit on the Senate to make sure we’re fulfilling our promises on the House to continue to work against the ills of Obamacare.”

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) would not say if he supports tying the DREAM Act to additional border security in one bill.

“DACA is within the jurisdiction of the Judiciary Committee – not to get into the weeds about jurisdiction. As you know, the Speaker has – well, I probably need to stop with that. I mean, this is obviously an issue we’ll be looking at in this Congress,” McCaul said. “Look, we’re all going to have to look at that issue as a conference and figure out how to best deal with that important issue. The president has made it an important issue as well.”